Buckle up and settle in because the fight between Epic and Apple will be going on for a while. The two companies had their day in (virtual) court yesterday, with a judge saying that the case should be heard before a jury next July.
CNet is reporting that California Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers “seemed less than impressed with the arguments put forward by Epic’s legal team,” telling Epic that willfully circumventing the 30% fee imposed by the App Store was “not honest.” Rogers also countered Epic’s claim of “irreparable harm” by saying that “There’s no case law that says that my billion-dollar company is losing some millions and so therefore that’s irreparable harm.”
Epic obviously disagreed, with its attorney saying that “you don’t lie down in the street and die” when taking on “the biggest company in the world.” “You plan very carefully on how you’re going to respond and you try very hard to keep your head above water.”
Judge Rogers suggested a compromise: that Fortnite be allowed back on the App Store, with its money owed to Apple kept in an escrow account for the duration of the trial. Apple’s representation said it would need to talk it over, while Epic’s counsel flatly refused, calling the measure “unlawful provisions by monopolists.” Rogers replied by saying, “I didn’t buy that argument before I’m not particularly impressed with it now.”
The judge understands and admits her small role in this entire affair, calling herself a “stepping stone” and saying that “Whoever loses is going to take it up and say everything I did was wrong — that’s what litigators do.” That means that, regardless of how the initial ruling does come down next summer, this is likely going to drag on for a long time. If you own an iPhone and want to play Fortnite, it’s time to look into alternatives.
UPDATE, Sept. 30: Epic and Apple can at least agree on one thing: neither wants a jury trial. Macrumors reports that both companies “agree that Epic’s claims and Apple’s counterclaims should be tried by the Court, and not by a jury.” Apple originally requested a trial by jury, but withdrew the request after learning that the judge didn’t want to handle two trials, one each for the claims and the counterclaims.